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French police arrest 282 in riotous celebrations after Algeria football win

Some of the arrests were also linked to unrest surrounding events marking France’s national day celebrations on Sunday

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French police arrest 282 in riotous celebrations after Algeria football win
Algeria supporters celebrate after Algeria won the 2019 AFCON semi-final football match against Nigeria, on the Champs-Elysee avenue in Paris. (Photo by Zakaria ABDELKAFI / AFP)

A total of 282 people were arrested in France after unrest following the Algerian football team’s qualification for the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, the interior ministry said Monday.

Riotous celebrations erupted around the country after Algeria beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-final. The arrests were made nationwide on Sunday evening, the ministry said.

Some of the arrests were also linked to unrest surrounding events marking France’s national day celebrations on Sunday.

Unruly scenes erupted in Paris, Marseille, and Lyon. Fifty people were arrested in the French capital and there were incidents between football fans and police on the Champs-Elysees avenue.  

Dozens of cars were torched overnight in the eastern city of Lyon.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday congratulated police and firemen for their “speedy reaction and professionalism which contained the violence and to the perpetrators” being apprehended.

Of those arrested, 249 people were in custody.

Last Thursday, when Algeria defeated Ivory Coast to reach the semi-finals, fans went on the rampage in central Paris, looting shops.

On the same day in the southern city of Montpellier, an Algerian football supporter celebrating his team’s win lost control of his car at high speed and ran into a family, killing a woman and seriously injuring her baby.

Paris and Marseille are home to large minority communities of Algerian origin. Football celebrations, with supporters brandishing large national flags, have, on occasion, been a source of tensions.

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5 killed in a rap concert in Algeria

Seven people who were still in hospital in a critical condition

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Stadium where five young people were killed and dozens more injured

Five young people were killed and dozens more injured in a stampede at a packed rap concert in the Algerian capital, a spokesman for rescue services said Friday. The stampede took place Thursday night as fans thronged an entrance of the August-20 Stadium where rapper Soolking was to perform.

The 29-year-old has won a huge number of fans in the country, his song “La Liberte” becoming a mainstay of anti-government protests that enter their seventh month on Friday.

Captain Nassim Bernaoui of the civil protection unit told reporters there were five killed in the crush: “two young girls aged 19 and 22 and three boys aged 13, 21 and 16.”

five young people were killed and dozens more injured in a stampede at a packed rap concert
A picture shows on August 23, 2019, the exterior of Algiers’ August-20 Stadium where five young people were killed and dozens more injured in a stampede at a packed rap concert the previous night. – The stampede took place as fans thronged an entrance of the stadium where rapper Soolking was to perform. AFP there were five victims of the crush: “two young girls aged 19 and 22 and three boys aged 13, 21 and 16.” (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

Similar News: Protests in Algeria force resignation of lower parliament speaker

Dozens of people were lightly injured, Bernaoui said, 86 of whom were treated on the spot with another 32 taken to hospital. Eight others were transferred to the Mustapha Pacha hospital in Algiers in critical condition, he added.

A medic, who asked to remain anonymous, later said seven people were still in hospital in a critical condition, without giving details on the eighth. In front of the hospital, Ahmed Kadi had red eyes as he waited to collect the body of his 18-year-old daughter Chourouk.

“I didn’t even know that my wife and my daughter had gone to the concert,” he said, holding back tears. They had been separated in the stampede. “The organisers did their job badly,” he said.

Nearby, Abderezak accompanied his friend Rachid Kadri as he collected the body of his 19-year-old daughter Chiraz. “Chiraz wasn’t planning to go but as she had passed her high school exams, her father wanted to give her a present and let her go with her friends,” he said.

“It’s criminal to organise a concert like that at the August-20 Stadium,” he added. According to APS, the incident took place at around 1900 GMT, adding that the concert went ahead as planned but with a 30-minute delay.

 flyers of rapper Soolking lying on the ground outside Algiers' August-20 Stadium
A picture shows on August 23, 2019, flyers of rapper Soolking lying on the ground outside Algiers’ August-20 Stadium where five young people were killed and dozens more injured in a stampede at a packed concert by the musician the previous night. – The stampede took place as fans thronged an entrance of the stadium where rapper Soolking was to perform. AFP there were five victims of the crush: “two young girls aged 19 and 22 and three boys aged 13, 21 and 16.” (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

Similar Story: French police arrest 282 in riotous celebrations after Algeria football win

Algerian journalist Akram Kharief said thousands of fans began gathering outside the stadium from mid-afternoon. More than 30,000 people were estimated to have attended the concert, he reported.

“There were only four small entrances allowing people to enter one at a time,” Kharief said. “This caused a stampede… and people fell” as they pushed to get inside before the start of the concert, he added.

Four concert-goers contacted separately, who were already inside the stadium when the stampede took place, said they had not been informed about it. They said that when they left the venue at around midnight, no rescue services were visible.

The Algiers prosecutor’s office said Friday that it had opened an investigation into the “painful accident” and would identify those responsibly.

Stadium where five young people were killed and dozens more injured
A picture shows on August 23, 2019, Algiers’ August-20 Stadium where five young people were killed and dozens more injured in a stampede at a packed rap concert the previous night. – The stampede took place as fans thronged an entrance of the stadium where rapper Soolking was to perform. AFP there were five victims of the crush: “two young girls aged 19 and 22 and three boys aged 13, 21 and 16.” (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

France-based Soolking, whose given name is Abderraouf Derradji, shot to stardom last year and was to perform just a single concert in his home country Algeria. He dedicated the song “La Liberte” to protesters engaged in months of anti-government demonstrations.

Algerians launched the unprecedented protest movement in February, initially against a bid by veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to seek a fifth term in office.

Bouteflika eventually resigned in the face of mass protests but the movement has not let up, continuing to rally weekly on Fridays to demand a complete overhaul of the political system.

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Mali’s new mining rules end tax exemptions

The regulatory change seeks to bring a “substantial increase” in the contribution of the mining sector

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New Mali mining law removes tax exemption

Mining companies operating in Mali will no longer be exempt from value-added tax during production and will only be protected from fiscal changes for a shorter period.

The regulatory change seeks to redress the “shortcomings” of a 2012 law by bringing a “substantial increase” in the contribution of the mining sector to the economy, the Mines Ministry said in a statement.

However, some industry watchers view the code change as a new instance of so-called “resource nationalism” and will likely spark tensions between the Malian government and mining companies.

Mali is currently Africa’s third-largest gold producer.

The regulation shortens the “stability period” during which mining companies’ existing investments are protected from changes to fiscal and customs regimes.

Changes to regulatory stability clauses have been strongly opposed by international mining companies elsewhere in Africa, most notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo where miners spent months at loggerheads with the government.

Under Mali’s previous law, stability was ensured for 30 years. It was however not made clear what the length of the new stability period would be, but the Economy Ministry said last year that the government aimed to reduce those protections to the lifespan of a mine.

“It’s the reality of the playing field at the moment, a lot of companies in Mali will have looked at what happened in DRC and Tanzania and they will have to be very cautious,” said Warren Beech, partner and head of mining at Eversheds Sutherland in Johannesburg.

Mali’s government had been negotiating with a working group of mining companies to draft a new code but said last year that it would move to implement a new law unilaterally if no compromise was reached.

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South Africa’s openly HIV-positive judge retires

Edwin Cameron, 66, won widespread praise for spearheading the fight for people with HIV two decades ago

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South Africa's openly HIV-positive judge retires
Edwin Cameron. (AFP)

A South African Constitutional Court judge and gay rights activist who openly disclosed his HIV status retired on Tuesday.

Edwin Cameron, 66, who hung up his gown after 25 years of serving as a judge, won widespread praise for spearheading the fight for people with HIV two decades ago when the infection rapidly spread under what he called the “AIDS denialism” of the then South African President, Thabo Mbeki.

He revealed his status in 1999 more than a decade after he contracted the virus.

He stirred up the 2000 International AIDS Conference in Durban with a speech detailing his own infection and how he was fortunate to be able to afford to buy antiretrovirals when treatment was so expensive and only accessible to the well-heeled.

“I have survived a pandemic many have perished living under,” he said at a special Constitutional Court sitting held in his honour in Johannesburg.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world — 19 per cent according to the UN AIDS agency — with more than seven million people living with the virus.

The country now has the largest state-sponsored anti-retroviral programme in the world, serving 2.5 million people.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng paid tribute to Cameron as “a brave and bold man” and for his catalytic role in mobilising authorities to roll out a mass ARV programme.

“When HIV and AIDS attracted stigma, he stood up and declared openly: ‘I am HIV positive’.”

“He could have chosen to mind his own business and care less about (others but) for the sake of the suffering masses, he not only spoke, but he acted.”

Openly gay, Cameron “helped secure the express inclusion of sexual orientation in the South African Constitution,” according to his official profile.

In 2006, South Africa became the sole African nation to allow gay marriage and it has become a haven for African homosexuals who flee persecution at home.

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